Kathleen M.S. Allen

  • Senior Lecturer (Emerita), Department of Anthropology

Kathleen Allen is an archaeologist whose interests focus on the development of tribal societies, regional settlement patterns, and contact studies exploring the interface between anthropology, history, ethnohistory, and archaeology.


Research Description

Kathleen Allen's primary geographic area of research interest is the Eastern Woodlands of North America with a special focus on pre- and post-contact period Iroquoian cultures of the eastern Great Lakes. Methodological interests include the application of geographic information systems to archaeological problems and the study of ceramic form and style.


Women, Men, and Children in Archeological Perspective

This course examines men, women, and children in past societies through the use of archaeological, ethnographic, and historic information. Extensive readings will provide an overview of gender studies in the field. Topics addressed include gender and material culture; division of labor; households and domestic economy, craft specialization; power, hierarchy, ideology; and culture contact. Gender will be examined from a perspective that includes men as well as women and will include recent studies aimed at recovering children in the archaeological record. Readings will focus on recent archaeological studies of gender and much class time will be devoted to discussion of readings. Students are expected to participate in leading discussion and will write a research paper on gender in their particular area of interest. Grades will be earned primarily through class discussion and a major research paper.

Basic Laboratory Analysis

Have you ever wondered how archaeologists look at bits of stone pottery to understand how people lived in the past? This course provides you with basic skills in analyzing lithics (rocks) and pottery so you can understand how artifacts were made and used. You will learn how to tabulate data and make interpretations about the activities in which people were engaged. Classes will include lectures, discussions of readings, assignments, and lots of hands-on experience working with material culture that archaeologists find most often. In the later part of the course, students will develop a research project and do an analysis using material from an Iroquois village site occupied in the 16th century. Prerequisites: At least one prior course in Archeology such as Introduction to Archeology, Archaeology Field School, or Mesoamerica Before Cortez is required.

Pots and People

In this course we examine pottery from two perspectives: that of the people who made pots in the past and that of the archaeologists who seek to interpret pottery found at archaeological sites. The aim of this course is to engender a perspective on pottery that is based on real life experience with it. Students will work through the process of producing the clay fabric, manufacturing pots, decorating them, and firing. In the last section of the course, we analyze pottery produced in the class using archaeological techniques. These include characterizing temper, cross-section analysis to determine manufacturing techniques and firing conditions. This course will lead to a better understanding of how pottery was produced in the past and of how the analysis of it will answer archaeological questions. Readings will focus on pottery manufacture and on archaeological approaches to the study of ceramics. A Special Fee of $20.00 to cover the cost of materials. This course will be offered every other year. Prerequisites: Introduction to Archaeology

Archaeology of North American Indians

In this course we examine archaeological evidence for the occupation of Native Americans in North America prior to, during, and after contact with Europeans. We will look at contemporary Native Americans and their views about the past as well as about how archaeology informs us about past societies. Major topics include the peopling of North America and the variety of Native American cultures that existed in different regions and their long histories. Special emphasis is placed on examining the trajectories of development of more complex societies in eastern North America, the Southwest, and the Northwest coast. This course will be offered irregularly. Prerequisites: Intro to Archaeology (Anth 0582).

Introduction to Archaeology

Modern archeology draws much of its theory and goals from anthropology. This course will show how archaeologists use the fragmentary traces left by past peoples to develop an anthropological understanding of their cultures. We will explore the variety of ways archaeologists investigate such things as prehistoric diet, social life, politics, technology, and religion. Topics to be covered include: the nature of archaeological information, dating techniques, interpretation of material objects, and archaeological ethics. Studies from around the world will be used to illustrate major principles in archaeological research. The course will provide an understanding of how and why we study past societies, as well as the unique contribution archaeology can make to understanding ourselves. Recitation sections are an important part of the course and are not optional. Recitation section grades will be determined by a combination of participation, short quizzes, and exercises.